Friday, January 15, 2021

2020 tied with 2016 for warmest year on record, NASA reports

Thanks to a tweet by Greta Thunberg, I changed my mind about the subject of today's entry.* Instead of updating the legal developments in the Flint Water Crisis or compiling what Samantha Bee had to say about the perpetrators and enablers of last week's attempted self-coup, I'm updating Hurricanes, fires, floods, and drought, the top climate and weather stories of 2020 through the lens of 2019 was the second warmest year and the 2010s was the warmest decade on record to examine climate change. 2019 is no longer the second warmest year. It has lost that title to 2016, 2020, or both together, the position of NASA Finds 2020 Tied for Hottest Year on Record.

Globally, 2020 was the hottest year on record, effectively tying 2016, the previous record. Overall, Earth’s average temperature has risen more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1880s. Temperatures are increasing due to human activities, specifically emissions of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and methane.
NASA's press release, 2020 Tied for Warmest Year on Record, NASA Analysis Shows, stated the conclusion more explicitly.
Earth’s global average surface temperature in 2020 tied with 2016 as the warmest year on record, according to an analysis by NASA.

Continuing the planet’s long-term warming trend, the year’s globally averaged temperature was 1.84 degrees Fahrenheit (1.02 degrees Celsius) warmer than the baseline 1951-1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. 2020 edged out 2016 by a very small amount, within the margin of error of the analysis, making the years effectively tied for the warmest year on record.

“The last seven years have been the warmest seven years on record, typifying the ongoing and dramatic warming trend,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt. “Whether one year is a record or not is not really that important – the important things are long-term trends. With these trends, and as the human impact on the climate increases, we have to expect that records will continue to be broken.”
The version at NASA's Earth Observatory added in its version of the press release, 2020 Tied for Warmest Year on Record.
The bar chart below shows this year in the context of the past 140 years in the modern temperature record. The values represent surface temperatures averaged over the entire globe for the year.
That's a graphic I'm going to have to add to my PowerPoint on climate to show to my students.

The NASA Earth Observatory press release continued.
Tracking global temperature trends provides a critical indicator of the impact of human activities—specifically, greenhouse gas emissions—on our planet. Earth’s average temperature has risen more than 1.2 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 19th century.

A separate, independent analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded that 2020 was the second-warmest year in their record, behind 2016. NOAA scientists use much of the same raw temperature data in their analysis, but have a different baseline period (1901-2000) and methodology. They noted that 2020 was the 44th consecutive year with global land and ocean temperatures above the 20th-century average.

Scientists from Europe’s Copernicus program also have 2020 tying 2016 as the warmest year on record, while the UK Met Office ranked 2020 as the second-warmest.
Based on all these analyses, declaring 2020 a statistical tie with 2016 looks like a safe conclusion to me.

NASA Earth Observatory's press release included one more graphic I want to share.
The animation below shows the seasonal cycle in global temperature anomalies for every month since 1880. Each line shows how much the global monthly temperature was above or below the global mean of 1980–2015. These seasonal anomalies are drawn from the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), a model run by NASA’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office.

Talk about a picture being worth 1000 words! That clearly shows how much warming has taken place over the past 140 years!

I have one last excerpt to share.
While the long-term trend of warming continues, a variety of events and factors contribute to any particular year’s average temperature. The largest source of year-to-year variability in global temperatures typically comes from the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a naturally occurring cycle of heat exchange between the ocean and atmosphere. While the year ended in a La Niña (cool) phase of ENSO, it started in a slightly positive (warm) phase, which marginally increased the average overall temperature. The cooling from the negative phase is expected to have greater influence on 2021.

“The previous record warm year, 2016, received a significant boost from a strong El Niño,” Schmidt said. “The lack of a similar assist from El Niño this year is evidence that the background climate continues to warm due to greenhouse gases.”

Follow over the jump for what 2020's record warmth meant for last year's weather plus the footnote showing Thunberg's tweet.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The giant impeach lands on Trump again as Colbert, Meyers, Kimmel, Fallon, and Bee take closer looks

I concluded Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and others likely to be charged for roles in Flint Water Crisis with "I'll probably cover soon to be ex-President Donald Trump's second impeachment. Stay tuned." Probably? Who was I kidding? Of course I am! Watch the opening monologue of last night's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, House Votes To Impeach And McConnell Provides Cover For GOP Senators To Break With The President to begin the coverage of yesterday's debate and vote.

For Americans eager to hold the president accountable for inciting a violent mob to attack Congress, Wednesday brought key glimmers of hope as the House of Representatives voted in favor of impeachment and a comment by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to give cover for Republican Senators to do the same when the trial begins in that chamber.
Once again, the giant impeach landed on soon to be ex-President Donald Trump. Splat!*

Of course, if Colbert is on something, Seth Meyers will be, too. Late Night with Seth Meyers uploaded Trump Is Now the Only President To Be Impeached Twice: A Closer Look to YouTube even before his show aired, which means it has more views than Colbert's monologue for once. Let's see how long that lasts.

Seth takes a closer look at the House voting to impeach President Trump for inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, making him the first and only president in history to be impeached twice.
Seth had a good insight about Mitch McConnell's motivations in reportedly being pleased about impeachment. Not only would he like to be the leading Republican, he certainly wants the campaign contributions to return. Trump stands in the way of both of those goals. While I don't like him or Liz Cheney, I'll take their help if it leads to Trump being disqualified from ever holding office again.

Jimmy Kimmel joined in with Trump Impeached AGAIN After Inciting Violence at the Capitol.

Donald Trump made history today as the first president to be impeached twice, several Republicans in the House voted to hold Trump accountable while the rest of them put their crazy on full display, Chuck Norris set the record straight about being at the Capitol riots after a look-a-like photo circulated online, Nancy Pelosi’s stolen lectern was returned, several GOP members popped off about having to go through metal detectors on their way into the Capitol, VP Mike Pence received a vulgar threat from Trump, Mitch McConnell is said to be pleased about impeachment after years of supporting our dear misleader, and Jimmy checks in with our favorite stoner from Michigan, Freddie Miller.
Before the 2020 U.S. presidential election, I didn't include Kimmel very often in these compilations, but I've learned to enjoy his monologues. Besides, I think his comedy improved as the news got worse. Also, he and his writers are willing to do silly things other late night talk show hosts aren't, like running Devin Nunes through a Snapchat clown filter. It made watching and listening to him tolerable.

Since this is a Michigan-based blog that occasionally covers marijuana legalization, I enjoyed watching Freddie Miller, although I don't know if Kimmel's idea of casting him on "The Bachelor" would be a good idea outside of comedy, not unless the producers recruit women that would fit better on "The Real World" than the usual glamorous types competing on "The Bachelor." That might be a train wreck worth watching.

Speaking of silly takes on yesterday's big news, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon had one in Trump Impeached for the Second Time.

Jimmy addresses the House voting on President Trump’s second impeachment.
I like the idea of Twitter rick-rolling Trump.

*For a bonus, I'm sharing Colbert's first guest segment, Samantha Bee On The Challenges Of Making A Comedy Show When The News Is So Upsetting.

Samantha Bee and Stephen talk about the unique challenges of making late night comedy shows when the news is so dour, and how they personally process troubling events like the MAGA insurrection. You can catch Samantha Bee on "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" on TBS!
Samantha Bee didn't address today's impeachment directly on her show, instead concentrating on last week's attempted self-coup and its perpetrators and enablers, but she did so here. That and Bee describing her desire that Trump be gone so she and her writers can make fun of less distressing news are why I embedded this clip instead of one from her show. I might put together a compilation of clips from last night's "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" tomorrow if I don't update the legal developments in the Flint Water Crisis. Stay tuned. In the meantime, I think it's only appropriate that Bee keeps bees; my favorite insects need all the friends they can get.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and others likely to be charged for roles in Flint Water Crisis

Two years ago, I observed that "The wheels of justice are grinding slowly in this case, but I expect they will indeed grind exceedingly fine" regarding the Flint Water Crisis. When Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud, and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy dismissed the criminal cases without prejudice, which means they could be refiled and the revised cases would be stronger, I added "If anything, they're grinding even slower than I expected, but also much finer." When prosecutors explained their action to residents of Flint in a town hall, I worried that "they can only grind so slowly because of the statute of limitations, which imposes a deadline nine months from now." That deadline passed almost a year ago, but either I was mistaken about the time limit or the statute of limitations didn't apply to all possible charges, because WNEM TV5 in Flint reported yesterday AP: Charges against Gov. Snyder, others likely.

Former Gov. Rick Snyder and other former state officials are likely to be charged in the Flint water probe, according to the Associated Press.
WNEM was vague about the likely defendants beyond former Governor Rick Snyder and former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, but WXYZ's Former Governor Snyder to face criminal charges in connection to Flint water crisis was not, naming names and showing faces.

Former Governor Rick Snyder and several other state officials will be facing criminal charges in connection with the Flint water crisis.
In addition to Snyder and Lyon, the reported defendants include Eden Wells, former chief medical executive at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Darnell Earley, former Emergency Manager for the City of Flint and Detroit Public Schools, and Gerald Ambrose, also a former Emergency Manager for the City of Flint. All of them were previously charged in the previous round of prosecutions brought by former Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, about whose motives I expressed cynicism.
Schuette is a Republican, but he doesn't owe Snyder much in the way of favors. He's going to thread (sic — "tread" fits the metaphor better, but it's a common mixing of metaphors) a narrow path. On the one hand, he's going to use this to make enough of a show that he'll help himself look "independent" for a general election. He might even harm Snyder as long as it also hurts the current Lieutenant Governor, Brian Calley, helping himself in the primary. On the other hand, he doesn't want to hurt Snyder so badly that it makes him look disloyal to the GOP. He especially does not want to force Snyder from office. The last thing he wants is Calley as an incumbent Governor to run against in a primary. That will be quite a balancing act!
I think Schuette did exactly what I described in this case, which was to look tough and independent while not going directly after Snyder. It worked for him, as he became the Republican nominee, not Calley.
While the residents of Flint were worried that the likely defendants would never be brought to justice when the previous charges were dismissed, it looks like they have not escaped being "ground exceedingly fine," not yet.

The person who caught my attention most was Jarrod Agen, Snyder's former Chief of Staff, Vice President Mike Pence's former communications director, acting chief of staff, and deputy chief of staff, and current Vice President of Communications for Lockheed Martin. This scandal follows him to go beyond the state lines of Michigan to the highest levels of government and industry. When I write about the revolving door between industry and government, it's not just about Monsanto and regulation of the food supply.* It happens all throughout government, including defense and aerospace, as Agen's example demonstrates.

Follow over the jump for reactions to this news from activists and local politicians.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Meyers, Colbert, Kimmel, Fallon, and Corden take closer looks at Trump facing impeachment — again — and being banned from social media

When I wrote Leslie Stahl interviews Nancy Pelosi on '60 Minutes' after the siege of the Capitol, I had a good idea of what I'd be writing today, telling my readers "I'm sure I'll have the late night talk show hosts take on this interview tomorrow." It turned out only one of them did, Late Night with Seth Meyers, where Seth included a clip in House Democrats Move to Impeach Trump for Insurrection: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at the Republicans who incited the violent insurrection at the Capitol telling everyone it's "time to move on" after House Democrats unveiled a text of impeachment calling for the removal of President Trump through the 25th Amendment.
I'm going to paraphrase what I wrote about Stephen Colbert in Colbert, Kimmel, and Corden react to Trump's speech last night with derision and outrage plus a bonus Closer Look and recycled in Colbert, Kimmel, Meyers, Corden, and Fallon express outrage and offer comfort in response to yesterday's attempted self-coup; wow, Seth tell us how you really feel. Seriously, I've never seen him so pissed! I guess as more comes out about Wednesday's attempted self-coup, Seth and his writers have become more incensed than they were when he, Colbert, and Kimmel on called for Trump to resign or be removed by 25th Amendment or impeachment. Congress is doing its best to make that happen, although I suspect the best won't be good enough to get Trump out of office before next Wednesday the 20th at Noon.

Colbert himself remarked about his anger last Wednesday in The Terrorists Who Attacked Congress At The President's Direction Came Prepared To Kill.

Stephen didn't get a lot of sleep last weekend, as horrific scenes from last week's violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol played over and again in his head. It now appears clear that the armed mob, who were organized and cheered on by the president and his GOP backers in the House and Senate, came to the nation's capital prepared to commit acts of violence against members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence.
If Colbert had included a clip of the "60 Minutes" interview and mentioned impeachment in the description, I would have placed this video first; it's that great a take-down of not just soon to be ex-President Donald Trump but also his enablers, including Mike Pence, Republicans in Congress, and the rioters.

Jimmy Kimmel was just as outraged in Trump Booted from Twitter & Maybe the Presidency.

Trump is set to make history as the first U.S. President to get impeached twice, his relationship with VP Mike Pence is said to be on the rocks, Melania was reportedly doing a photoshoot during the attacks at the Capitol, we look back at Hillary Clinton’s warning during the 2016 election, the FBI made a statement that MAGA rioters may try to storm capitols in all 50 states, Trump got the boot from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat, the PGA has chosen not to hold their championship at his golf course in New Jersey, and after a Harvard research assistant noticed a correlation between angry reviews on the Yankee Candle website and COVID, Jimmy got in touch with their Vice President of Fragrance (Andy Daly) to see what’s been going on.
Once again, Kimmel has the most comprehensive video descriptions; every subject of his monologue merited a mention. In particular, I'm glad to see he gave Melania Trump's statement the attention it deserved and reminded his viewers that there is still a pandemic going on.

Follow over the jump for Fallon's and Corden's monologues, which handled the situation with a lighter touch, including more about Trump losing his Twitter account.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Leslie Stahl interviews Nancy Pelosi on '60 Minutes' after the siege of the Capitol

It's time for a serious look at Wednesday's attempted self-coup followed by calls for Trump to resign or be removed with Nancy Pelosi: The 2021 60 Minutes interview.

Days after her own office was ransacked by Trump supporters, the speaker of the House talks to Lesley Stahl about what she experienced that day and more.
Wow, Speaker Pelosi, tell us how you really feel! Seriously, I agree with her, both about the nature of Donald Trump and the coup attempt and the people executing it. Seeing the damage and video clips and hearing the sounds makes the event even more frightening and real.

This interview would probably have trended on Twitter no matter what, but the search term ended up being Leslie Stahl not Nancy Pelosi because of Stahl's questions about pandemic relief and the age of the Democratic House leadership. Both of them annoyed Pelosi's supporters on Twitter and made them focus on Stahl. I agree with the first being an unfair question. As I wrote in Vox explains why it is difficult to collect unemployment benefits in Florida, "Never mind that HEROES Act has been sitting on Mitch McConnell's desk for months, but he refuses to put it up for a vote." McConnell obstructed the legislation, not Pelosi. As for the second, it doesn't look good, but I think AOC and others just need to be patient; I expect Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Jim Clyburn will all retire by the end of this decade and it will be a younger generation's turn to lead the Democratic Party in Congress.

Follow over the jump for the "Overtime" clips "60 Minutes" uploaded to its YouTube channel.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

CNBC asks 'What Went Wrong With Political Polling In 2020?' and 'Are Polls Trustworthy?'

Happy Sunday, the day I usually write about entertainment as break from all the serious business I cover the rest of the week. I'm not feeling that today and it doesn't help that I'm not seeing a good entertainment story to blog about among my sources.* Instead, I'm taking a break from Wednesday's attempted self-coup, calls for Trump to resign or be removed, and the results of the Georgia Senate runoff elections by stepping back and watching CNBC answer the question it posed last week, What Went Wrong With Political Polling In 2020?

A lot [of] things went wrong in 2020. And presidential polls were no exception. Joe Biden was supposed to win the 2020 presidential by eight points, according to the polls, which were wrong. He won by five points. He was supposed to win Wisconsin by 10 points. Instead, Biden eked out a victory there with less than 1 percent of the vote between him and incumbent President Donald Trump. The polls were very wrong in Wisconsin. The polls also had Biden winning Florida. And North Carolina. Here’s why the polls ended up missing the mark in 2020, and what’s being done about it.
What's interesting is that polls weren't off significantly in 2018, when Donald Trump was not on the ballot. That makes me think a lot of the problem with polls is the result of the kinds of voters Trump inspires to vote for him. As CNBC noted, a lot of them do not want to talk to pollsters at all. FiveThirtyEight ascribed this to low levels of social trust: "Social isolation, or the lack of social integration, has long been thought to reduce willingness to participate in surveys. Americans who feel alienated or isolated from society do not feel compelled to participate in surveys out of a sense of civic obligation." These individuals probably also vote infrequently. If pollsters are looking for likely voters, they might miss or underweight low-trust voters who like Trump in their surveys because without Trump on the ballot, low-trust Americans aren't likely to vote. That means that they probably won't be messing up poll results in 2022, so people will be less likely to ask this question next year. That might not be the case in 2024 if Trump is on the ballot again, but a successful impeachment and conviction would prevent that, as it would make him ineligible to run for office again. One can only hope.

CNBC asked many of the same experts back in October Are Polls Trustworthy?

New polls are being released daily, answering how many Americans favor President Donald Trump or Vice President Joe Biden to win the 2020 presidential election. A majority of Americans don't believe these pre-vote polls are accurate, pointing to the misrepresentation of polling results from the 2016 presidential election. Experts contend the process of polling has become more precise and conclusive over time, but that they poll how people will vote, not how the electoral college will count votes. Find out how the polling industry makes money and how to understand polling results ahead of November 3rd by watching the video above.
In addition to reinforcing the points about how contacting people and getting them to respond are getting more difficult, making polling less reliable in general, this video opened with how political polling is just one segment of market research. That should have occurred to me, but leave it to the cable channel watched by people who think they own the country to point it out to me. Another fact that surprised me, but probably shouldn't, was that political polarization is starting to spill over into questions that had no political dimension before Trump. That's causing problems for market research that the pollsters hadn't encountered before. Still, the answer to CNBC's question is that it's in the polling firms' interest that the answer is yes, so they're working on making polls more trustworthy. I hope they succeed so Americans can have more faith in polling and the outcomes of our elections.

*There was one — Kamala Harris in Vogue — but I wasn't seeing my sources cover that yet, either. Maybe later this week.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Colbert, Meyers, and Fallon (finally) discuss the Georgia Senate runoff elections

Both Colbert and Meyers were preparing material about Seth describes how I feel. I would rather be writing about the results of the Senate runoff elections in Georgia, which turned out well for Democrats when Wednesday's attempted self-coup happened and the late night talk show hosts had to scrap that material. Last night, that story settled down enough, after calls for Trump to resign or be removed by the 25th Amendment or impeachment, that the two talk show hosts with shows last night all addressed it. The first was Stephen Colbert, who made the original topic planned for Wednesday the subject of his monologue, After A Rocky Week, Stephen Finally Gets To Celebrate The Georgia Senate Wins By Warnock And Ossoff.

Stephen kicks off our first Friday show of the new year with a segment we're calling "2021: The Week That Felt Like A Year." Luckily, thanks to our friend Stacey Abrams, there was some good news out of Georgia this week, and our host is finally able to celebrate it.
Yes, it really has been a long week. For what it's worth, Monday's news was "another perfect call" by the soon to be ex-President. I can understand why people would forget about that. As for returning to the movies, I can sympathize, but I can wait.

Seth Meyers didn't feature the news in his monologue last night, because he wasn't on, but he devote an entire interview segment to it overnight Wednesday into Thursday, Killer Mike Knew Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock Would Win the Georgia Runoff.

Killer Mike talks about Rev. Raphael Warnock’s character, the Georgia runoff election and what he hopes from a Biden-Harris presidency.
I did promise I'd share one of the interviews in Thursday's entry, but I wasn't originally planning on this one being one of them. Good thing I changed my mind after Colbert changed the subject.

Finally, Jimmy Fallon included the election results in Thank You Notes: Ossoff and Warnock, Kale Salads.

Jimmy pens thank you notes to this week's news for ruining Dry January, Bridgerton and other things.
I've mentioned that I don't use Fallon very often because his touch is too light, but that was a good joke.

Here's to sending off an eventful week. I hope next week is calmer, but I'm not terribly optimistic. How about you?

Friday, January 8, 2021

Colbert, Meyers, and Kimmel on calls for Trump to resign or be removed by 25th Amendment or impeachment

I'm not done writing about Wednesday's attempted self-coup and neither are the late night talk show hosts. All of them made calls for Donald Trump to be removed early from office, whether by the 25th Amendment or impeachment, central subjects of their monologues.

I begin, as I did yesterday, with Stephen Colbert's monologue A Terrified President Throws His Riot Mob Under A Bus To Save His Neck (And Get Back On Twitter).

Facing threats of impeachment, and with calls for his resignation coming from even the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board, the president on Thursday released a video in which he unconvincingly condemned the insurrection he incited, and begrudgingly admitted that a new administration would take office following an orderly transition of power on January 20th.
I'm glad Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram locked Trump out of his accounts and Snapchat followed suit, so that's a total of four suspensions from social media.* That reduces his ability to inflame his supporters. It also means I don't have to see the people I follow on Twitter quote his tweets. I don't follow him and I don't want to read his tweets!

Seth Meyers had his own take in Calls For Trump’s Removal Grow After Violent Insurrection at Capitol: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at a majority of Republicans in the House and a handful of GOP senators tried to throw out the results of the presidential election even after a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol attempted to overthrow American democracy.
Seth's right, it is scary to hear the BBC report on Wednesday's violence. The accent alone makes the events sound even more serious and they were serious enough. On the other hand, hearing Rudy Guiliani leave a message on the wrong Senator's voicemail is so on-brand. The man is notorious for butt-dialing journalists when he's having a conversation that wasn't meant to be overheard.

Jimmy Kimmel Live asked Wait – Donald Trump is Unfit to Serve!?

Jimmy talks about yesterday’s horrible events at the U.S. Capitol, the end of Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump’s romance, an angry VP Mike Pence, resignations piling up within the administration, the possibility of the 25th amendment being invoked, people just now realizing that Trump is not fit to serve, Republicans floating the idea that ANTIFA infiltrated the attack mob, some of the people responsible for this, Trump finally releasing a statement agreeing to an “orderly transition,” and a whole new meaning to “The Snake” lyrics Trump read many times on the campaign trail as a metaphor to warn people about immigrants.
Kimmel had the best take-down of the conspiracy theory that Antifa infiltrated the protest. All the rioters pictured are definitely Trump supporters, not anti-Trump operatives. They're also entitled fools who didn't think anything would happen to them. The past two days are showing them wrong and I'm sure more consequences are coming their way. Finally, Trump had no idea how much he was telling on himself when he told that snake story.

I conclude by saying that, as much as I would like Trump removed through the 25th Amendment, Mike Pence's lack of action shows that likely won't happen. I guess impeachment it will be, that is if Congress comes back into session next week. Currently, they're not scheduled to return until the Inauguration. It will be a long two weeks.

*If he loses a fifth social media account, he'll be eligible for the Kenny McCormick Memorial Medal. If so, I'll be happy to give it to him.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Colbert, Kimmel, Meyers, Corden, and Fallon express outrage and offer comfort in response to yesterday's attempted self-coup

I had a good idea of what I would blog about today when I concluded the body of A view of the 'coup attempt' from Michigan.
I might get around to the results of the Georgia Senate runoff elections tomorrow or the day after. I suspect I will be posting the reactions of the late-night talk show hosts to today's violence instead. Stay tuned.
That's exactly what I'm doing, beginning with Stephen Colbert asking Hey, Republicans Who Supported This President: Are We Great Again Yet? - LIVE MONOLOGUE.

After the unprecedented assault on democracy that took place in the Capitol Building today, Stephen Colbert kicks off his LIVE monologue with a message for cowardly Republican lawmakers who for five years have coddled the president's fascist rhetoric: there will be a terrible price to pay.
I'm going to be a good environmentalist and repeat what I wrote about Stephen's monologue in Colbert, Kimmel, and Corden react to Trump's speech last night with derision and outrage plus a bonus Closer Look: "Wow, Stephen, tell us how you really feel. Seriously, I've never seen him so pissed!" This time, I can say I have.*

The Late Show began their commentary on Donald Trump words and deeds in the cold open A Riot At The Capitol Is Exactly What The "Law And Order" President Wanted.

Fact check: America is certainly not feeling great.

Yes, "law and order" ended up being a big scam.

The next monologue I'm featuring is Jimmy Kimmel on Angry Trump Mob Storming the Capitol.

Jimmy gives his thoughts on the angry mob of Trump supporters storming the capitol building in Washington D.C. today, Mike Pence shutting down Donald Trump's request to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which shouldn't, Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and others keeping this stolen election charade going, Democrats gaining control of the Senate after a double victory in Georgia's runoff election, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump going after the Republican establishment, and we revisit Trump's inauguration speech with the benefit of hindsight.
Not only are Kimmel's video descriptions the most comprehensive of all the late night talk show hosts, his monologues can be as well. In particular, I'm glad he called out all of Trump's supporters who enabled yesterday's assault on the rule of law and representative democracy. They deserved it.

Follow over the jump for the rest of last night's monologues.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

A view of the 'coup attempt' from Michigan

I didn't know what to blog about this morning because I thought events would be moving so quickly that by the time I would have finished writing and promoting today's entry, it would be out of date. The default would have been a serious treatment of Trump's "perfect call" to Georgia's Secretary of State to balance out yesterday's comedic take, but I wasn't feeling it. I thought that I would be better off waiting for the results of the Senate runoff elections in Georgia or for the drama at the U.S. Capitol over the certification of the Electoral College vote. I was right to wait. In fact, I had no idea how right I would be, as the drama at the Capitol turned violent as a mob took over the building this afternoon.

I begin my "view of the 'coup' from Michigan" with WOOD-TV's lead story from the 6:00 P.M. newcast, Trump backers storm Capitol; 1 dead, curfew in place.*

Law enforcement officers secured the U.S. Capitol building after pro-Trump supporters breached the perimeter and entered the building as Congress met Wednesday afternoon.
I can tell the producers at WOOD-TV were rattled because of the uneven and shaky start to the report, which gave a good overview of the action at the Capitol this afternoon. WXYZ gave a more personal account in 'I'm safe.' Michigan lawmakers react to violent demonstration at U.S. Capitol.

Michigan lawmakers are reacting to the violent demonstration at the U.S. Capitol that has left the building locked down, people breaching the building and lawmakers sheltered in their office.
As I've written before about the difference in coverage between WOOD-TV and WXYZ, WOOD-TV does a better job of analysis in the studio, while WXYZ excels at "man and woman in the street" interviews. In this case, the interviewees just happened to be U.S. Representatives.

WXYZ continued getting reactions to what Joe Biden called an insurrection and others have called a riot (I think both are correct) in MI GOP leader decries violent protest.

A leader of the Michigan Republicans is decrying the chaos in Washington DC.
I bet Rocky Raczkowski is reconsidering his support for Trump now.

Both WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids and WXYZ in Detroit focused their reports on the rally and mob action afterwards. WNEM in Flint included the reason for today's joint session of Congress in Political science professor outlines certification process.

Before protesters descended on and subsequently stormed the United States Capitol on Wednesday, the electoral certification happening inside was already shaking up.
Hah! If only today ended up being as boring as Professor Kyla Stepp thought it would be. Instead, it ended up being much worse. In November, I made the following observations about Trump refusing to concede.
Back in September, I posted what if Trump refuses to concede a loss in November? We're finding out the answer along with a bonus helping of Trump refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. If someone more competent were trying this, it would be just terrifying. Since it's Donald Trump, it's still terrifying, but it's also ridiculous.
Back then, I thought things weren't as bad as they could have been. Now, they've approached the worst case scenario. When Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel take closer looks at Trump saying he won't leave the White House became the most read entry of December 2020, I should have been paying attention. People were right to be worried!

I might get around to the results of the Georgia Senate runoff elections tomorrow or the day after. I suspect I will be posting the reactions of the late-night talk show hosts to today's violence instead. Stay tuned.

*I put "coup" in quotes because of what I wrote in Meyers, Colbert, and Noah take closer looks at Trump intervening in Georgia's elections.
Strictly speaking, what Trump is attempting, however ineptly, is not a coup d'état; it resembles watered-down version of an autogolfe or "self-coup", although it would be lacking some of the characteristics of even that.
A self-coup (or autocoup, from the Spanish autogolpe) is a form of putsch or coup d'état in which a nation's leader, despite having come to power through legal means, dissolves or renders powerless the national legislature and unlawfully assumes extraordinary powers not granted under normal circumstances. Other measures taken may include annulling the nation's constitution, suspending civil courts and having the head of government assume dictatorial powers.
Trump and his allies are trying to overturn the results of an election to keep him in power, but they are not trying to assume extraordinary powers for themselves or dissolve legislatures and courts. The entire effort requires democratic and republican structures to succeed. In fact, they're attempting to get the courts to assume extraordinary powers, which the courts are refusing to do, and their scheme requires legislatures increasing their powers to make it work, which, so far, they are also declining to do. After all, Trump and the people advising him know that, as I also repeated yesterday, "The real election is the Electoral College, which votes on December 14, 2020. That's followed by a joint session of the new Congress on January 6, 2021." Trump is trying to game those steps to get electors who will vote for him. If that fails, Republican Representatives and Senators will challenge the electors during the joint session. Both could result in Trump being re-elected while thwarting the will of the voters. That would feel like a coup, even if it technically isn't one.
Having an armed mob storm the legislature on behalf of the outgoing chief executive makes it feel even more like a coup, but it still doesn't satisfy the criteria in Coup with Adjectives: Conceptual Stretching or Innovation in Comparative Research? The methods are illegal, but the executive is not the target and the state, other than the person of the chief executive itself, is not involved in its execution. Instead, it looks like Trump gave up on the mechanisms of government achieving what he wants and has turned to the street, which satisfied one of the criteria his previous efforts did not, "A self-coup (or autocoup, from the Spanish autogolpe) is a form of putsch or coup d'état in which a nation's leader, despite having come to power through legal means, dissolves or renders powerless the national legislature..." We're getting closer, so welcome to another Weimar moment.